Wes Anderson is a rare breed of filmmaker. While his body of work has received both effusive praise and eye-rolling cynicism over the years, his style and artistic vision as a director are truly one of a kind. It isn’t just the quirky structure of Anderson’s films that make them instantly recognizable, but rather a precise combination of this as well as a tremendous eye for detail, color and setting. His last film, 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was (among other things) a visual triumph, winning critical praise as well as taking in 4 Oscars.
As Anderson’s fanbase grows, so too does the level of anticipation for each film he sets out to create. It takes time to build the worlds that he does and even a look back at his earliest of efforts will still convey that same eye for detail. Twenty years on from his first film Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson has perhaps become more complex and ambitious than ever and the precision he strives to achieve seems to be a much bigger aspect of his work. After the success of The Grand Budapest Hotel, the big question has been what he’ll do next and how he’ll go about topping a film that many already feel was flawless.
It turns out that Anderson’s next project has already begun production, according to a new interview with GQ (via The Playlist). This time around the director is heading back to animation – stop-motion animation, to be exact – a genre of filmmaking that he hasn’t taken on since his 2009 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox. Though the new film has yet to receive an official title, it’s been known for a year now that the story will focus on dogs. Anderson’s acknowledgement that production has started came as an understated reveal:
“I’ve got an animated movie I’m doing that’s happening across the room from me right now. So I can see a long list of e-mails from people on the set whom I now need to address.”
Exactly how far into production the film currently is could be anyone’s guess. What we do know is that so far the cast of this film includes Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton and Bob Balaban. Given Anderson’s above quote, it appears that he might be employing a similar directorial technique as he used for Fantastic Mr. Fox, which caused a bit of controversy when director of photography Tristan Oliver accused Anderson of being away from the film’s set (London) and directing via email from home (Paris). Said Oliver back in 2009:
“I think he’s a little sociopathic. I think he’s a little O.C.D. Contact with people disturbs him. This way, he can spend an entire day locked inside an empty room with a computer. He’s a bit like the Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain.”
Whatever technique Anderson employs on this latest film, there’s no denying that his last stab at sop-motion animation was a real achievement. Denied the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox had all the elements of a Wes Anderson film locked into place – even if some might say that the film wasn’t the director’s strongest work story-wise.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see what Anderson does with the stop-motion genre this time around. Fantastic Mr. Fox had to have taught him much about making a film in this way and these lessons will surely inform the creation of this new film, hopefully making for a rich, distinct and engaging world – all of which are typical hallmarks from Wes Anderson that fans have come to expect.
We’ll bring you more information on Anderson’s new untitled stop-motion film as it becomes available.